Cannabis consumption is on the rise. More and more states are legalizing the substance. While some users benefit greatly from the medicinal components in this plant, not everyone experiences the same effects. It’s also not very difficult for teens and children to access this plant as well, which is a growing concern.
With social media and the internet, we have everything we need at our fingertips. It wasn’t so long ago that you had to work to find weed. There was a time when it was all word of mouth, before the technology – you needed to know someone who had access to it, in order to use it. Now, you can easily order your bud online through websites and social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
We’ve evolved in so many ways, and with the introduction of new technologies, the way that we grow marijuana has also changed. A recent study showed that high-potency cannabis is increasingly dominating the market. In Europe and the US, the average THC concentration went up from 8.9 percent in 2008 to 17.1 percent in 2017 .
There are products that are even more potent with THC, extracts such as hashish can range from 40 percent to 80 percent potency, depending on factors such as the extraction technique and quality of starting material .
While there are many different chemicals in cannabis that can affect the brain, THC is the most powerful compound. THC is able to interact directly with cannabinoid receptors on neurons in our brains . This is what leaves you feeling “high” or “stoned” after consuming.
While cannabis isn’t considered to be harmful to the general population, especially when compared to hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Cannabis is also arguably safer than alcohol or tobacco . However, there are some concerns with cannabis and mental health, especially with these higher potencies of THC.
It is commonly known that smoking cannabis may produce effects that resemble the symptoms of psychosis. These include anxiety, paranoia, and delusional beliefs. Generally, these effects are fairly short-lasting, and there are no remaining effects after the high has worn off.
However, researchers have found that a small proportion of the general population is much more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. With enough use of this drug, certain people may develop long-lasting or even permanent psychosis .
Those with a family history of psychosis or those who may have had previous psychotic experiences, have a stronger predisposition and are at greater risk.
Age is another important factor. Teenagers and children are at more risk than adults, they are also the most likely to experiment with it. While cannabis is less addictive than caffeine, and it doesn’t have any serious withdrawal effects compared to a drug like alcohol, education is key .
With this widespread legalization. We should take the time to understand the different components of marijuana such as THC and CBD, we should know how they affect the body and also what’s available on the market as far as potency goes. Just because it’s becoming legal, doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
- New trends in cannabis potency in USA and Europe during the last decade (2008-2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30671616
- What Is Hash and How Does It Relate to Cannabis?https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-hashish
- How does marijuana produce its effects https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-produce-its-effects
- Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/
- Cannabis and schizophrenia. A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2892048
- Tests of causal linkages between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15733249
- Cannabis and Psychosis http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/cannabis-vol5/cannabis-and-psychosis
- What Are the Strongest Cannabis Strains? https://www.leafly.ca/news/strains-products/what-are-the-strongest-cannabis-strains
- Instagram has a drug problem. Its algorithms make it worse. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/instagram-has-a-drug-problem-its-algorithms-make-it-worse
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